GABF 2021 Medal RoundUp

Friday saw this year’s Great American Beer Festival medals awarded. I have dug through all of the categories to present fun facts and kudos to breweries in California and in the other 49 states…

Let’s start this longer than my usual post off with the overall brewery winners in the order they were announced…

Short Fuse from Illinois, Cloudburst from Washington State, Sudwerk from California, Moontown Brewing in Indiana, Radiant Beer Co. from Anaheim, Metazoa Brewing from Indiana, Allagash from Maine and lastly Main and Sixth from Florida.

Now on to L.A. and adjacent medal winners. Highland Park Brewery won Silver for Fill Pils in the Kellerbier / Zwickelbier category. Figueroa Mountain had their name called four times for their Danish Red, Schwarz is the New Black, Meat Sweats and Davy Brown. Both Claremont Craft Ales and Arts District nabbed Bronze, the former in the Strong Red category and the latter in Special Berliner-Style.

The big winner was All Season Brewing who also secured Bronze through five rounds of judging in the second most entered category of American IPA. Third out of 404 entries is quite a feat.

Next up are my favorite beer names. Work Life Balance is great but the winner was Chris Barley in a Small Coat.

Other fun facts:

2,200 breweries participated so roughly a quarter of breweries overall.

Hazy IPA and American IPA both had over 400 entries but third was Fruited American Sour Ale and German Wheat Ale was fifth. Kolsch had 189 entries.

California swept the English / New Zealand category and had 60 medals overall.

Fresh Hop Ales were not judged because many are still in tanks. Those awards will be done next month.

The only category that didn’t award a prize was Scotch Ale, where no Gold was awarded.

GABF will return in 2022 from October 6-8.

GABF Medal Winning Brewery # 4 – Hoops Brewing

Tying together GABF gold medal winner with NBA pre-season, I present Hoops Brewing from Duluth. They number their beers and it’s was 325 that won in the chili beer category.

Here are the lucky numbers I would choose when filling out a taster tray….

No. 704 Apple Ale – “This year, once again we’re using the delicious apples from Erickson Orchards. The flavor is slightly sweet/tart with some apple crisp character. Our Fall seasonal beer to bookmark Oktoberfest

No. 13 UK Pale Ale – “Our British style pale ale, sometimes called a bitter has a lower alcohol percentage and a beefed up malt character.”

No. 99 Wood Smoked Wheat – “A unique take on a traditional German style. Aromatics of beech wood & smoky phenolics dance with fruity esters offered from the top-fermenting yeast. Flavors of banana and clove give way to a more smoke driven finish.”

No. 39 Keller Pils – “Keller Pils is a German style lager. Kellerbier – “cellar beer” – contains more yeast and vitamins held in suspension. As a result, this beer is naturally cloudy. Our first lager brewed at Hoops, this beer has smooth, floral notes and a mellow citrus bitterness in flavor and finish.”

GABF Medal Winning Brewery # 4 – Monkless Belgian Ales

We head to Bend where Monkless Belgian Ales and the Gold Medal for Belgian Style Abbey Ale in 2020 resides.

Here is what I would add to an initial taster tray….

Peppercorn Imperial Wit – “It’s time to rethink your Wit! Belgian boldness is brimming in this big, yet light-bodied Wit. Citrusy freshness abounds with a clean peppery finish.”

Capitulation Dry-Hopped Tripel – “What do you do when customers say “I love hoppy beers”? Well, if you’re any other brewery you might brew 6 different IPA’s for them to choose from, but if you’re Monkless, you capitulate, and dry hop your classic Belgian Tripel. We took one of our favorite beers, The Trinity, and dry hopped it to add a blast of flowery, citrusy hop aroma.”

Pour Pour Pitiful Me Quadruple – “This girl has been through it! Aged and fermented over cherries to produce a ripe and full flavor profile, this brilliant Belgian-style quad is rich with deep, dark fruits and just sings in the glass.”

Brother’s Bier Belgian Single – “If you know Monkless, you know we’re not known for brewing small beers – that said, we wanted a clean sessionable beer to share as the warm summer months approached us. We were inspired by the Trappist tradition of the Belgian Single. Brother’s Bier is a SMaSH beer brewed from Pilsen malt and Sterling hops, and fermented to a nice dry finish with our traditional Trappist yeast strain. A late hop addition of Sterling adds a bit of spicy, citrusy hop aroma and flavor to the quintessential fruity-spicy yeast character of a classic Belgian Single.”